Philosophical Analysis of 'Gone Baby Gone'

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The age old question of ethical ambiguity is something that humanity may never resolve. Conflicting morals and the ultimate question of “is what I’m doing right?” is one of the greatest human mysteries. Philosophers, psychiatrists and every individual on the planet must grapple with this moral confusion in an attempt to find unique solutions to everyday dilemmas. In Affleck’s drama Gone Baby Gone, two very notable philosophies collide head on, and the protagonist must choose between the two to find the solution that he feels is ‘right.’ In Affleck’s brilliantly rendered drama Gone Baby Gone, a young girl is abducted from her mother, in a blue collar area of Boston, Massachusetts. Patrick Kenzie and his girlfriend are private investigators who are called in by the sister-in-law of the abducted childs mother. The neighborhoods in Boston where this crime took place are infamous for their resistance to police operations. Similar to residents of Southie (South Boston,) Dorchester residents keep matters to themselves. With the help of Patrick, he is able to use his status as a private investigator to get information from his local contacts. He finds out Helene was not at home when Amanda was abducted, but was in fact snorting cocaine at a local bar with her boyfriend Skinny Ray. Further information is discovered that Helene and Ray had brought Amanda with them on a drug run into New Hampshire. The police raided their accomplices, leaving the three with the money. Helene tells her boss, the Haitan drug lord Cheese, that the money was taken. In reality, she buried the money in Ray’s backyard in Chelsea. When Kenzie and the two detectives working with him figure this out and arrive in Chelsea, they find Ray brutally murdered, presumably by Cheese. Kenzie meets with Cheese and arranges a meet at a quarry in Quincy. Amanda appears to have been pushed off a ledge and dies. As a result of this, the police captain Doyle retires, claiming responsibility. Several months later, Kenzie is contacted by his drug-dealing friend Bubba, who brings him to the house of a child molester and two drug addicts in Everett. Posing as dealers, Kenzie and Bubba bust in the house. Kenzie discovers the body of the second kidnapped child. Furious, he shoots the culprit point blank. Bubba is shot , and one of the detectives, Nick, dies from bullet wounds. Remy is distraught over his partner’s death, and tells Patrick that he once planted evidence on someone with Ray’s help. Patrick realizes that Remy had lied about knowing Ray, and when he tries to find the truth by questioning Lionel (Helene’s brother,) a man in a mask comes in, but the bartender shoots the man, killing him. The man in the mask was Remy. Remy and Lionel had conspired to create a fake kidnapping. The twist ending at the end reveals that Captain Doyle has her in his house. The movie ends as Patrick calls the police, and they arrest the Captain for kidnapping. There are two mainstream ethical systems embattled in this film. The cops and Lionel are operating on the ethical system of Utilitarianism; while for the most part Patrick carries out his actions based on what he believes is the intrinsic goodness of his actions, or in other words Deontological ethics. There are several decisions made through the ethical judgment of utilitarianism. All of the actions done by Doyle and Lionel are the result of a single decision: that for the good of the child and her future, the best result is for her to be taken aware from her biological mother. Thus, all of their actions are deemed morally ethical because it causes the most good and the least harm. Helene is so apathetic that it is clear that she could care less about what happens to her daughter. To illustrate this point, at the very end of the movie she is preparing to go out to a bar, and when Patrick asks her who is babysitting, she responds “Dotti.” Patricks asks, “yeah, does Dottie know that?” Helene responds sarcastically, “she will in 5...
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